Following on from the success of Night of Thunder (IRE) and Miss France (IRE) in the QIPCO 2000 and 1000 Guineas respectively, last month, Irish-bred horses again look set to dominate this weekend’s British classics at Epsom when the Investec Oaks (Group 1) and the Investec Derby (Group 1) take place.
Saturday’s Investec Derby is one of the most significant and influential races in the thoroughbred calendar that not only goes towards confirming the leading 3-year-old each season but the race also produces many of the top stallions in Europe and beyond. Current leading sires such as Galileo (IRE), High Chaparral (IRE), New Approach (IRE) and Sea The Stars (IRE) have all cemented their reputations by winning at Epsom and many of them, are now standing at stud in Ireland.
Seven of the runners in the 2014 contest are Irish-bred with an impressive nine by Irish based sires, which again demonstrates the influence the Irish bloodstock industry has at the highest level. This year, Aidan O’Brien is going for a remarkable third successive victory in the blue riband contest, with his team of four headed by the likely hot favourite Australia who is by Champion European sire Galileo (IRE). As well as the team from Ballydoyle, Newtown Anner Stud’s Fascinating Rock (IRE) and His Highness the Aga Khan’s Ebanoran (IRE) completes a particularly strong line-up of Irish-trained and bred horses.
On Friday, seventeen fillies go to post in the Investec Oaks, a race that in recent years has been dominated by Irish-bred fillies with three of the last four winners hailing from Ireland. This year sees another strong Irish representation with eight Irish-bred fillies lining up while ten of the seventeen runners are by Irish-based sires. Aidan O’Brien has three runners in the contest including the likely favourite Marvellous (IRE) who comes into this contest on the back of an impressive success in the Ethihad Airways Irish 1000 Guineas. Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, who owns Derrinstown Stud, based just outside Maynooth, has the impressive Blue Wind Stakes (Group 3) winner Tarfasha (IRE) representing him and this Dermot Weld-trained filly looks sure to run a big race on the day.
Elaine Hatton, General Manager Irish Thoroughbred Marketing commented: “2014 looks set to be another tremendous year for Irish-bred and trained horses in the Classics. Going into the weekend at Epsom, Irish breeders and trainers can be confident of building on their remarkable record that includes Irish trained horses winning four of the last six renewals of the Investec Derby while Irish breds have also won four of the last six renewals.”